Mountain View Voice

- April 27, 2007

Best of Mountain View 2007

If you are wild about food, look no further than Best of Mountain View 2007, providing the winners and runners-up in our annual readers' poll. A savvy diner could spend weeks tasting his or her way through the cornucopia of restaurants that have made Mountain View a premier dining destination on the Peninsula.

Castro Street's bumper crop of ethnic eateries is just one of the reasons to spend a lunch or dinner hour here. Besides the palate, Mountain View provides plenty of talent in many other specialties including personal care, car care, finances, home furnishings and hotels.

And besides the great food and services, any resident will tell you Mountain View is just a great place to live. With Google and Microsoft leading the way, the city blends a vibrant high-tech community with its food culture. Check out the free WiFi from a restaurant or coffee shop anywhere in the city, or see how the tech revolution began by visiting the Computer History Museum

Some of the best entertainment in the region plays live and loud at Shoreline Amphitheatre, an institution that offers a striking outdoor stage for top-tier performers who play for patrons seated on a grassy hillside or in premium seats at stage level. The downtown Center for the Performing Arts brings in the professionals from TheatreWorks, and the Pear Street Theatre is a refreshing venue for experimental works.

Mountain View's vibrant mix of ethnic cuisine reflects a population that has made it one of the friendliest towns on the Peninsula. Please enjoy the Voice's Best of Mountain View 2007, made possible by our readers— the people who know this city best. They know where to find the good stuff!

Auto Body Repair

FCC Collision Center

Mountain View customers knock on FCC Collision Center's door when their car is in need of a major structural surgery. Denting, repainting and other accidental injuries are all taken care of by this family-owned business only a few blocks away from downtown Mountain View. ICAR Gold Certified for its high quality service since 1979.

177 E. Evelyn Ave.; 965-1440

Runner up: Magnussen Car West Auto Body

Auto Repair

Larry's Autoworks

When you get a guarantee like Larry's, you can be sure residents from Mountain View and beyond will drive the distance to get high class customer service. Drivers as far as Berkeley take advantage of Larry's promise that the repairs will last 24,000 miles or at least two years without fail. Customers also get Early Bird and After Hours Lockout services. To help your car stay on the road clean and green, Larry's also arranges free workshops.

2526 Leghorn St.; Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.; 968-5202

Runner up: Dean's Automotive Inc.

Bagel

The Posh Bagel

On your way out from the Mountain View Library, a stop at The Posh Bagel on Castro Street is worth a U-turn. Best known for its breakfast, The Posh Bagel serves a great lunch too. Depending on your appetite, you can order a light vegetarian filling or cashew chicken with your bagel. Or, ask for a scrumptious crepe. Top it with Odwalla or the great coffee available here. The service is quick and worth leaving a tip for. From suits to sneakers, the place attracts a fair bunch of loyal customers who feel The Posh Bagel doesn't stay open long enough. Sandwiches start at $5.35.

444 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat 7:30 a.m.-5p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-3p.m.; 968-5308

Runner up: Noah's Bagels

Bar

Cascal Restaurant

Could Cascal be the crown jewel of Castro Street? To savor the house specialties at the lively bar which won the coveted title of Best Bar in town, Cascal recommends you try its Cuban classic Mojito, Brazil's national cocktail called Caipirinha and the Spanish House Made Sangria. Cocktails start at $7.50.

400 Castro St.; Mon.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; 940-9500

Runner up: Tied House Cafe & Brewery

Barbecue

Uncle Frank's BBQ

The Bay Area does barbecue, and Mountain View knows it better thanks to Uncle Frank's BBQ on Old Middlefield Way. Barbeque aficionados describe their brush with Uncle Frank's beef brisket "smoked for over 30 hours" as a religious experience. Frank's Louisiana style slow smoked meat, chicken and pork ribs come as close seconds. Forget the grill next to the pool. Friends are all you need to tackle Uncle Frank's legendary large portions topped with a special family recipe sauce and a side of baked beans. Meals start at $7.50.

2135 Old Middlefield Way; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; 964-4476

Runner up: Clarke's Charcoal Broiler

Bookstore

Books Inc.

When the assistant at big name bookstores can't find a title, they drop their voice a few decibels and tell you Books Inc would have it. Books Inc takes pride in knowing customers personally. They also specialize in carrying small publishers' titles not available elsewhere. The independent bookstore has a hectic calendar of events with speakers dropping by for book signings. You can also browse at leisure or take your purchase upstairs in the coffee and sandwiches section. Open late.

301 Castro St.; Mon.-Thu. 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 9 a.m.-midnight; Sun. 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; 428-1234

Runner up: Book Buyers

Breakfast/Brunch

Hobee's

Wake up and smell the cinnamon orange tea at Hobee's. Or taste the hot and heavenly big slice of coffee cake. Add to this some eggs and hash browns, and you know why Mountain View picks Hobee's as its favorite breakfast place every year. Ideal for Sunday sit-down brunch banter, Hobee's also offer snacks, pasta and chicken entrees along with energy smoothies. On the weekends, Hobee's is noisier and the queues are long.

2312 Central Expressway; Mon.-Fri. 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; 968-6050

Runner up: Country Gourmet

Burger

Clarke's Charcoal Broiler

Mountain View has crowned Clarke's Charcoal Broiler king yet again for grilling the meanest patties this side of the Bay. After sweating it out in the gym, you know you've earned yourself a choice from Clarke's list of 23 burgers. Here you are welcome to help yourself to the generous condiments, cheeses and toppings, thanks to Clarke's wonderful you-put-what-you-want-on-your-burger philosophy. Take out available.

615 W. El Camino Real; Sat.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; 967-0851

Runner up: In-N-Out Burger

Burrito

Taqueria La Bamba

Let's hear it for Taqueria La Bamba for serving the best burritos in Mountain View. Customers say juicy burritos and great salsa makes Taqueria their No. 1 choice. Beating out stiff competition next door, Taqueria La Bamba has found favor with its fans for fresh ingredients, large portions and super quick service. Regular burrito is $4.25.

2058 Old Middlefield Way; Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; 965-2755

Runner up: La Costena Custom Burritos

Chinese

Cafe Yulong

It's the pork dumplings, sizzling rice soup and homemade noodles which makes Mountain View vote for Cafe Yulong three years in a row. Mia, the manager, says that all the meats and vegetables are fresh, and customers can taste the difference right away. Friendly staff, reasonable prices and a clean interior are other reasons why this warmly decorated Chinese restaurant pulls in the pedestrians. Good for takeout but great for eating in. Lunch starts at $6.45 and dinner at $7.95.

743 Dana St.; Tue-Thu. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; 960-1677

Runner up: Golden Wok Chinese Restaurant

Chiropractor

Lisa M. Devlin

For the second consecutive year, Mountain View hands over the crown to Dr. Lisa M. Devlin as the Best Chiropractor in town. Devlin has been treating customers in Mountain View and other cities for 14 years using the Activator Method practice which is a low force technique for treating joint dysfunctions. Her customers seek overall wellness, treatment for accidental injuries, and sports preparation. The initial exam costs $119 which is inclusive of the first adjustment. Follow up visit is $57.

1265 Montecito Ave., Suite 105; Mon. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tues. 8 a.m.-12 p.m.; Wed. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; 428-0950

Runner up: Mountain View Chiropractic Center

Coffee House (Independent)

Dana Street Roasting Company

Mountain View grabs its first and second cup at Dana Street Roasting Company. Follow the seductive smell of freshly roasted coffee beans down Castro Street to Dana for a spot of Celtic music with your Mint Mocha. Take up a chair to sip 'n surf or soak up the sun on the sidewalk. You'll find a fair mix of readers, surfers and techies at the tables here. Soy Lattes, Americano and the house brewed Chai are recommended by the staff. Live bands play at Dana frequently in the evenings.

744 W. Dana St.; Mon.-Thu. 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; 390-9638

Runner up: Red Rock Cafe

Dry Cleaners

Careful Cleaners

Careful Cleaners are all about handling with care. Winning the hearts and minds of Mountain View residents with their efficiency and reliability, Careful Cleaners is the place where you can drop off your precious delicates without worry. Pants dry cleaned at $5.75 and shirts laundered at $1.50. Careful cleaners also carries out alterations at reasonable prices.

860 Villa St.; Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sat. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sun. Closed.; 967-5094

Runner up: Blossom Valley Cleaners

Fast Food Restaurant

In-N-Out Burger

The pace only dies down at Mountain View's favorite fast food joint after midnight. If you're looking for a crowd after 11 p.m., you will find the students, late night loungers and an odd couple or two, feverishly biting into burgers and freshly made fries. Drive out to one of the three locations in Mountain View and choose from a menu that makes you wish buying coffee was this simple.

53 W. El Camino Real and 1159 N. Rengstorff Ave.; Sun.-Thu. 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Fri.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; (800) 786-1000

Runner up: Clarke's Charcoal Broiler

Financial Institution

Bank of America

Mountain View is going to BofA with their money thanks to the bank's cooperative approach to financial services. The queues are longer around lunchtime, but its location at the center of Castro Street makes darting in and out for deposits and withdrawals breezy at other times. Staff is attentive, well-informed and forthcoming towards all visitors. Walk in for a question and walk out with a lollipop.

444 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; 324-4433

Runner up: Wells Fargo Bank

Fine Dining

Chez TJ

When Mountain View wants to point out its best fine dining, residents point unanimously to Chez TJ. This beautiful Victorian house on Villa Street earned its rightful place in the prestigious Michelin Restaurant Guide, which compliments the cuisine and the service. First timers save a special occasion for Chez TJ and go back to reclaim the magic. Four course meals start at $80 and 12-course meals at $110.

938 Villa St., Tue.-Thurs., 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 1st Seating 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., 2nd Seating 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; 964-7466

Runner up: Cascal Restaurant

Fitness Club

YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula

Mountain View rates the YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula high on its list for health and wellness. Connected with the community, YMCA offers a variety of training programs and workouts for beginners and pros alike. A series of activities prevail all year round ranging from indoor to outdoor sports. Get over to the YMCA to find out how you can shape up in Mountain View.

2400 Grant Rd.; Mon.-Thu., 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; 969-9622

24 Hour Fitness Club

When it's a workout they need, Mountain View residents also rated the 24 Hour Fitness Club in San Antonio Shopping Center as their favorite. The chain lives up to its name, offering a modern gym, lockers, sauna, steam room, an aerobics studio and a pool.

550 Showers Dr.; 941-2268

Runner up: Gold's Gym

Florist

Trader Joe's

Want a spiffy, silk wrapped floral bouquet with 10 minutes to spare? Head over to the Mountain View Trader Joe's where fresh aromatic arrangements are available daily. Trader Joe's offers flowers, scented candles and fruit assortments.

590 Showers Dr.; Mon.-Sun. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; 917-1013

Robert Moore Florist

Robert Moore Florist is a family owned business since 1956. Offering daily delivery to Silicon Valley, Robert Moore specializes in European and high-style floral and gift arrangements. They carry extra-fancy roses to suit your style. Whatever the event, Robert Moore can create the arrangements ranging from a simple bouquet to extensive decoration.

881 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; 967-2307

Fleur De Lis

Fleur De Lis specializes in a variety of floral and fruit arrangements. Whether it's tropical plants you're looking for or gourmet fruit baskets, Fleur De Lis pulls out fresh flowers from its inventory to create bouquets and baskets for any occasion. The shop serves Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

811 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-3p.m; 968-0220

Hair Salon

Allure Salon

For the perfect perm, Allure makes heads turn. Mountain View voted Allure for its efficient service and sleek output. Allure offers an array of hair treatments including cuts, permanent straightening, perms and coloring.

888 Villa St.; Mon.-Tues. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wed.-Fri.-10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. Closed; 938-8777

Runner up: Solstice Salon

Hardware

Orchard Supply Hardware

Thinking about a fancy new landscape for your garden this spring? Mountain View prefers the Orchard Supply Hardware or OSH shopping experience when it comes to their hardware and garden needs. The ease of exchange and return makes OSH favorite in this category. And without the friendly staff paying close attention to what's on your shopping list, the experience wouldn't be the same.

2555 Charleston Rd.; Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; 691-2010

Runner up: Minton's Lumber & Supply Co.

Home Furnishings Store

Cost Plus World Market

According to the voters, Cost Plus World Market offers the best bargain for Mountain View's buck. Set up your kitchen, bedroom, home office or living room with furnishings to suit every budget. The aisles are packed with items from all over the world such as imported candy and ethnic accessories. A huge selection of coffee and wines make Cost Plus a must-visit for party arrangements.

1910 W. El Camino Real; Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 961-6066

Runner up: Ethan Allen

Hotel

Hilton Garden Inn

Travelers rate the Hilton Garden Inn high for a great pit stop while on the go. For visitors in town on business, free Internet in the lobby area and in the rooms is considered a godsend. Customers value the great service they get for the price. Standard double room costs $89 to $209 per night.

840 E. El Camino Real; 964-1700

Runner up: Hotel Avante

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

Gelato Classico Italian Ice Cream

Winter or summer, Gelato Classico Italian Ice Cream is a favorite with locals and tourists. Fans loyal to gelato swear by the Tiramisu and the Cafe Moca served here. Walk in for a free sample of heavenly choices such as Burgundy Cherry, Fresh Ginger, Pumpkin and Green Tea. Customers throng the small outlet for the 100 percent fresh fruits and dairy ingredients used in the divine Italian offering. Seating is good for small groups but most customers prefer their treat in hand as they walk the length of Castro Street. Small cup is $2.90, regular cup is $4.45 and large cup is $5.20. Cash only.

241-B Castro St.; Sun.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; 969-2900

Runner up: Cold Stone Creamery

Indian Restaurant

Amber India Restaurant

The lone star from Mountain View to make the Chronicle's Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants this year, Amber India is famous for its distinct North Indian cuisine. The courteous servers here are ready to roll out its melting Butter Chicken in a jiffy. Of the other specials, Shrimp Curry, Fish Tikka and Nakrela Lamb are favorites. Vegetarians will find plenty of house specials on the menu while meat lovers will enjoy a range of barbecue and curry varieties. Lunch buffet is $12.95 on weekdays and $13.95 on weekends.

2290 W. El Camino Real No. 9; Daily 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; 968-7511

Runner up: Shiva's Indian Restaurant-Bar

Italian Restaurant

Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too

Where can you go for that authentic Italian ambience in the middle of Mountain View? Locals head to Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too for its thin-crust New York style pizza served separately from its take out counter. Bring a group of friends or out of town visitors along to do justice to the enormous portions.

939 W. El Camino Real; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-midnight; Fri. 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sat. 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; 967-5384

Runner up: Ristorante Don Giovanni

Massage

Dragon Touch Massage

Bryan Reisinger's merger of traditional and modern therapeutic practice has proved a winning combination for Mountain View. He uses several rejuvenating techniques including Traditional Relaxation (Swedish), Trigger Point Release, Shiatsu, Sport, Qigong and Reiki. Bryan's customers look to improve muscles, posture and athletic preparedness. Appointments can be made on Fridays and Sundays and a third day is on the cards. On-site chair massage services available for office locations. A one hour session costs $65 and one-and-a-half-hour session costs $90.

1265 Montecito Ave., Suite 105; Fri. 1 p.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; (408) 569-9154

Runner up: Axis Performance Center

Mexican Restaurant

Fiesta Del Mar

It is official: Mountain View has voted on its favorite Mexican restaurant nine years in a row. Since 1991, Fiesta Del Mar has fast become a local legend for its margaritas, 200 tequilas and Mexican seafood. Coming round to the Fiesta is like sitting down to a family meal. Susan and Alexander Garcia, the husband and wife team, owns Fiesta Del Mar and Fiesta Del Mar Too. They use family recipes to serve authentic Mexican cuisine catered towards to the healthy Californian. Meal costs $4.95 to $21.95.

1005 N. Shoreline Blvd.; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; 965-9354

Runner up: La Fiesta Restaurant

Middle Eastern Restaurant

Zucca

Tired of Chinese takeouts? Try Mountain View's very own United Nations of cuisines. Zucca offers an array of European and Middle Eastern options both for lunch and dinner. Zucca's mirrored interiors and elegant outdoor seating on Castro Street makes it a hot favorite. Ask about their homemade recipes or one of several Spanish, Italian, Greek, Turkish or French specialties. One meal inclusive of a drink, appetizer and main course costs approximately $40.

186 Castro St., Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 4:30 p.m.-11 p.m.; 864-9940

Cafe Baklava Mediterranean Grill

Cafe Baklava is a gem among the Best of Mountain View. Proud chef and owner Illiano has been serving the finest Turkish cuisine in Mountain View since 2005. He brings to Castro Street delicious family owned recipes. Customers keep coming back for the mouthwatering Kebabs and mixed platters in the restaurant's intimate setting.

341 Castro St.; Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sun. 12 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; 969-3835

Runner up: Gyros House

Music Venue

Shoreline

Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheatre is a big reason why headlining acts are stopping over in the Bay Area. Some of the upcoming acts include Gwen Stefani, The Fray, Toby Keith and Dave Matthews Band. The state of the art multimedia facilities here give 25,000 rock 'n' roll fans plenty to rave about. According to Wikipedia, an aerial view of the Amphitheater is made to resemble the Grateful Dead's "Steal Your Face" logo as a tribute to the band.

1 Amphitheatre Parkway; 967-3000

Runner up: Dana Street Roasting Co.

Nails

La Monique

Helping Mountain View put its best hands and feet forward is La Monique's Nail Salon. The winner in this category for 2002, 2003 and 2005, La Monique is the city's pick once again for customers who love the luxury but are smart about paying a reasonable price for it. Bring along a friend to chat with as you leave yourself in the hands of professionals who know the art of pampering well. A manicure and pedicure combo costs $48 and appointments are frequently available one hour prior to visit.

650 Castro St., Suite No. 175; Daily 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; 968-9901

Runner up: Gorgeous Nails & Skin Care

New Business

Dragon Touch Massage

In 15 months, Dragon Touch Massage has surfaced as the most popular new business in Mountain View. Whether it's the great attention towards customer satisfaction or the multi-pass that gives a $5 discount on each massage, Dragon Touch has ascertained its rank among the best in Mountain View.

1265 Montecito Ave., Suite 105; Fri. 1 p.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; (408) 569-9154

Runner up: Therapy

New Restaurant

3TA

While French fusion has been the name of the game for new restaurants on Castro this year, 3TA has taken the "Best of" title. Pronounced "threeta," 3TA New Wave Fusion Restaurant and Bar is a hip entrant on the Castro dining scene. Owned and operated by the Amarin Thai management, 3TA is inspired by the owner's friend who has a similar sounding name. The 3 comes from the three members of the family who run the restaurant. Customers are intrigued by the funky interior and modern bar as much as the cuisine.

156 Castro St.; Mon.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sat. 4:30p.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sun. Closed; 988-1382

Runner up: Neto Caffe & Bakery

Noodle Place

Tung Kee Noodle House

If it's a super fast and cheap bowl of noodles you're looking for, there's a Tung Kee Noodle House at the edge of Showers Drive. In 1983, Tung Kee first opened its doors in San Jose and has since become a chain of four that is ingrained in the Silicon Valley culture of fusion food. Its staple noodles, meat and sauce low-cost diet makes it a favorite among techies working in Mountain View. Meals are $5.

520 Showers Dr.; Daily 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; 947-8888

Runner up: TK Noodle

Park

Cuesta Park

The squirrel scare has yet to drive the park lovers away. Bird watchers and babysitters easily find their corner in Cuesta Park. Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Cuesta makes a fine contender for the best park prize with its playground, tennis and volleyball courts, and widespread grassy areas. Cuesta also has adequate space and facilities for a barbecue party.

615 Cuesta Dr.; 6 a.m. to one and a half hours after sunset; 903-6326

Runner up: Shoreline

Pearl Tea

Tapioca Express

The queue outside Tapioca Express is a sure sign. Boasting 150 items on the menu, Tapioca Express gives Pearl Tea lovers more than just a dozen bobas at the bottom of the cup. While the snow bubbles and ice shavers are immensely tempting, customers come to Tapioca for its milky Pearl Tea. Topping off the teas, juices and coffees is a selection of fried snacks such as the Pepper Fried Chicken — great for a bite between friends. Choose "mild" if you prefer moderately spicy food. Board game players and readers welcome to the lounge area. Cash only.

740 Villa St.; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; 965-3093

Runner up: Verde Tea Espresso Bar

Picnic Spot

Shoreline Park

In saving Shoreline from being used as a dump for San Francisco, the city of Mountain View gave locals a reason to experience the great outdoors a stone's throw away. Where can you expect to find a golf course, a dog park, a lake and a Victorian house all together? Marathon runners, Bay Trail walkers, roller bladders, painters and photographers all share the 700-acre park. History buffs visit the Rengstorff House tucked away on one edge, while others grab a bite at Michael's before (or while) taking in the scenic views. At the heart of Mountain View's pride and joy is a salt water lake perfect for kayakers and surfers. Easily accessible from Hwy 101, this is the place to eye locals, Googlers and rare bird species.

3070 N. Shoreline Blvd.; 903-6392

Runner up: Cuesta Park

Pizza

Amici's East Coast Pizzeria

Mountain View prefers its pizza with the ingredients in sight and not blanketed under cheese and tomato sauce. Amici's thin crust oven baked pizzas draws a crowd seven days a week to the branch on Castro Street just off El Camino. Customers like dining in because the staff knows when to refill your glass or when to be discreet. With 15 tempting selections, you can't go wrong with the typical margarita or the unusual Fried Eggplant. Health buffs have the option of an Extra-Thin Reduced Carb pizza. Takeout and delivery menus are available online.

790 Castro St.; Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 961-6666

Runner up: Frankie, Johnnie & Luigi Too

Place for a Business Lunch

Cascal Restaurant

Pitching to the VCs? Pick Cascal, because locals voted it the best business lunch in Mountain View. Cascal offers a mix of vegetarian and meat tapas which is convenient when you are unsure what your lunch mate prefers. A lively bar, patio and indoor seating offer the right combination for business conversation minus the anxiety. Cascal recommends its Paella, the Mushroom Empanada and the Sizzling Shrimp. Lunch starts at $13.

400 Castro St.; Mon.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; 940-9500

Runner up: Michael's at Shoreline Restaurant

Place for First Date

Cascal Restaurant

Taking the Best of Mountain View title in three categories, Cascal is favored by locals for their first date too. Whether you're meeting JohnnyBravo74 from a chat room or taking out the love of your life, you can bank on the food and cocktails going right during that momentous eve at Cascal's.

400 Castro St.; Mon.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; 940-9500

Runner up: Dana Street Roasting Company

Place to Buy Fresh Produce

Mountain View Farmers Market

With over 60 Bay Area vendors participating, you never know what you'll run into at Mountain View's famous Farmers Market. Voted consistently for its organic produce, this Sunday morning affair has customers raving about its greens and produce. Available on the stands are flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood and dairy products such as eggs, cheese and breads. You might want to take advantage of the free samples given out here. Get a grip on your tote bag and head for the Caltrain station.

Located in the downtown Caltrain parking lot at Hope and Evelyn; Sun. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; (800) 806-3276

Runner up: Milk Pail Market

Place for Singles to Meet

Molly Magee's

At the end of a long hard day, Mountain View heads to Molly Magee's Irish Pub. This is the place for the singles set to get friendly on weekdays and rowdy on weekends. It's a favorite with pub-crawlers who want to shake a leg to the DJ (Thurs. to Sun.) on the modest-sized dance floor after a few pints. Coworkers come regularly to play pool, catch the grapevine or watch sports on the patio. Cover charge applies on the weekends.

241 Castro St.; Daily 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; 961-0108

Runner up: Dana Street Roasting Company

Place to Bring a Pet

Shoreline Dog Park

Mountain View dogs have voted! You don't want to step on any tails inside the Shoreline Dog Park, where the pet canines of this city go off-leash to experience the rush of wind and digging in the dusty grounds. If your pet isn't wagging tails with others over the weekend here, then it's is missing out on a major social. Large dogs are in no danger of bulldozing their smaller counterparts as two different areas are fenced off for each size. Animal waste bags and dispensers are available on site. Pet owners are welcome to sign up with a Yahoo e-mail group to learn about Shoreline Dog Park activities at mvdp.org.

Bill Graham Pkwy. at N. Shoreline Blvd.; 903-6392

Runner up: City Center Plaza

Place to Bring Kids

Computer History Museum

If you find it hard to tear your kids away from their computers, take them to the mothership. The Computer History Museum moved to Mountain View thanks to an old chipmaker's warehouse space laid to waste. Now it's a place for Silicon Valley to share its history, show off the region's many firsts and hold activities involving kids, nerds and everybody else. As the Museum adds to its collection, kids will enjoy discovering computer variations from calculators that touch the ceiling to giant memory disks. The exhibits are laid out in a timeline, including interactive booths, photo galleries and artifacts.

1401 N. Shoreline Blvd.; Wed., Fri. & Sun. 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; 810-1010

Runner up: Shoreline

Place to Bring Visitors

Castro Street

Mountain View voted unanimously for Castro Street as its favorite tourist destination. Starting with the sleek City Hall building, the downtown is a study in contrasts: ethnic retail stores, upscale dining and office complexes. The landmark Pioneer Park and Mountain View library are footsteps apart, making this pedestrian-friendly eight blocks a bridge between commuters and residents.

100-800 Castro St.

Runner up: Shoreline

Place to People Watch

Castro Street

Lunch may be a great occasion to head for Castro Street, but it's the time between sunset and evening when the place transforms. As the lights go up, the who's who of Mountain View put on their fancy best (even if that means corporate T-shirts) to make an appearance. Mountain View's people-watchers, perhaps short on cash but high on spirits, voted Castro Street, specifically the 100 to 200 block of pedestrian space, as bystander paradise.

100-800 Castro St.

Runner up: Dana Street Roasting Company

Sandwich

Le Boulanger

A California chain of bakery cafes, Le Boulanger is Mountain View's pick for a quick meal. Customers prefer getting out their notebooks as they grab one of the hot, cold or omelet sandwiches on the menu. Le Boulanger also offers a selection of two soups in freshly baked sourdough bread every day of the week. Sandwiches start at $6.25 and soups start at $2.95.

650 Castro St., No. 160; Mon.-Sat. 6 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; 961-1787

Runner up: Dittmer's Gourmet Meats

Seafood Restaurant

The Cantankerous Fish

When The Cantankerous Fish opened doors in September 2003, stylish seafood dining in downtown Mountain View suddenly found a name. Smack in the middle of downtown, The Cantankerous Fish is where the hurried business lunch occurs next to a social meet-up. The staff is extremely attentive and well informed about specials, which vary from Fish Tacos to Seared Scallops. Soup and salad lovers will find several tasteful combinations. Lunch costs $7-15 and dinner costs $18-24.

420 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. 4:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; 966-8124

Runner up: Fiesta Del Mar

Shoe Repair

A Minute Man Shoe Repair Service

Your work shoe developing a smiley face? Perhaps a zipper coming off? Whatever the problem, Mountain View gets its shoes and bags fixed fast at A Minute Man Shoe Repair Service. Located a block from the train station, stop by and hand over sandals, shoes, belts, purses, knapsacks, etc. into the loving hands of Marco Azuela. Depending on the extent of the damage, you could have it taken care of in less than five minutes or in 24 hours. Marco also specializes in custom made leather boots. Repairs start at $5. Cash preferred.

738 Villa St.; Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. Closed; 968-0358

Runner up: Model Shoe Repair

Small (Non-Chain) Grocery Store

Milk Pail Market

In 1974, Steve and his dad saved Mountain View's only drive-thru dairy from bankruptcy. Today, the Milk Pail towers over its competition as an independent open market for fresh farm and dairy produce. When it's a fruity loaf of European bread you're looking for, look no further than the Milk Pail, where Ester's German Bakery and Vital Vittles from Berkeley deliver the organic goods. In the spirit of giving back, the Milk Pail also holds cheese tastings for its community of buyers, who can find 300 varieties here.

2585 California St.; Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m-8 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; 941-2505

Runner up: Mi Pueblo

Store for Unusual Gifts

Cost Plus World Market

Have an eye out for beaded belts and embroidered satchels? Cost Plus World Market offers the best bargain on the block on unusual objects and trims you won't find elsewhere in Mountain View at unbelievable prices. Whether you want give something for a housewarming or bid farewell to a colleague, the racks at Cost Plus have a perfect present. Browse through the aisles or the extensive catalogue online.

1910 W. El Camino Real; Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 961-6066

Runner up: East-West Bookshop

Sushi/Japanese Restaurant

Sushi Tomi

Sushi is to the Bay Area what noodles are to Vietnam. When Mountain View gets a craving, residents head to Sushi Tomi. Stop by for its famous spicy tuna rolls or try the artsy tamago. You can even say "Omakase" to try the chef's special of the day with Nigiri and Miso soup for $25. If you're lucky, the finale could be a complimentary dessert. Sushi Tomi promise to brighten any party with its full sushi-bar service.

635 W. Dana St.; Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; 968-3227

Runner up: Sono Sushi

Thai Restaurant

Amarin Thai

What's the magic behind Amarin's appetizing Thai cuisine? Voted Best Thai on Castro six years straight, Amarin's Chicken Satay, Mango Chicken, BBQ Beef Salad and Tamarind Prawns are some specials owner Supawan counts off her fingers. Maybe the magic lies with the royals of the world who surround the King of Thailand in a huge group photo inside Amarin. Aside from the regular Thai offerings, customers as far away as Fremont come to savor the complete vegetarian menu. Patio sitting available. Lunch starts at $10 and dinner is $10 to $20.

174 Castro St.; Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. noon-10 p.m.; 988-9323

Runner up: King of Krung Siam Restaurant

Vegetarian Restaurant

Garden Fresh

When salad is not the only green you want to see on your menu, Garden Fresh is the Chinese vegan place to be. Mountain View voted Garden Fresh as its favorite Vegetarian restaurant and it's not hard to see why — the menu offers soybean and tofu concoctions that even meat lovers enjoy. Brown rice is served with all orders. Wholesome and healthy, Garden Fresh frequently update their menu to keep customers excited. Lunch starts at $6.80 and dinner at $8.65.

1245 W. El Camino Real; Mon.-Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; 254-1688

Runner up: Hobee's Restaurant

Vietnamese Restaurant

Xanh

Xanh is a trendy Vietnamese addition to Castro's huge number of multicultural options. Traditional noodle food meets artistic chef, resulting in eye-catching palates. On weekdays, the Power Lunch is a popular menu choice with visitors. If you can tell your Shaking Beef from your Sea Bass, this is the place to savor the flavors of fusion food. Indoor and patio seating is available.

185 Castro St.; Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; 964-1888

Runner up: Pho Vi Hoa

Yoga Studio

Yoga is Youthfulness

The fountain of youth might be out of reach but yoga in Mountain View isn't. Yoga is Youthfulness easily finds a place in the Best of Mountain View list, having previously made it three years in a row. A strong sense of community combined with a variety of yoga practices for all ages and skill levels make this studio an experience that will last you a lifetime.

590 Castro St.; 964-5277

Center of Balance

When it comes to the matters of mind, body and soul, yoga lovers also voted for Center of Balance. The studio on Pear Avenue has a sizeable share of Pilates and yoga followers. Founder Tom Cook has designed programs for Olympians. Along with a team of instructors, Cook is teaching the art of balancing mind and body, which is getting recognition all around the Bay Area.

1220 Pear Ave., Suite I; 967-6414

Runners up: Club of Mountain View and 24 Hour Fitness

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